Ovarian cancer occurs when abnormal cells within the ovary start to multiply, creating a tumor. Not all tumors are cancerous and non-cancerous tumors are called benign tumors. Benign tumors do not usually spread to other parts of the body. They may need treatment but they are rarely life-threatening.
Malignant ovarian tumors, however, are cancerous. It is important to catch cancers early because they can grow enough to engulf most of the ovary and can spread to other parts of the body too. Ovarian cancer is not a single disease and treatment for it will depend on the type of tumor a patient has.
90 % of women do not know the symptoms. Ovarian cancer has four main symptoms:
Regular experience of these symptoms could be a sign of ovarian cancer. The other symptoms might also include back pain, changes in bowel habits and extreme fatigue for no obvious reason.
Many of us get symptoms like these from time to time, and more often than not, they are down to other, non-serious conditions. However, the symptoms of ovarian cancer are distinct in that they are:
If you are getting any of the above symptoms on most days of the month, it is important to see your GP. Something else may be causing them, but it is best to have them checked out.